Sky is the limit....
For guitar player Keshav Dhar, whose hunger to experiment with different soundscapes helped him make remarkable strides in the Hindi music industry after making a name for himself in the world of metal music.
It has been over 10 years, since Keshav Dhar strapped on a guitar, and started on this journey, subconsciously speaking, to explore the soundscapes, not just possible in the world of the stringed instrument, but also, if possible, go beyond that as well. “Skills is where I take out all my anger It’s the space where I express myself. But exploring different soundscapes (possible through a guitar) is where my creativity comes in,” he explains.
The thought “to explore the sounds that I can create with the guitar rather than just focussing on skills”, is quite evident, when Dhar explains how he created the sitar-like tone, on his electric guitar, which one can hear in the beginning of Piyush Mishra’s song, Jungle Ki Raaton Mein, which featured in the recently released series, JL50, starring Pankaj Kapur and Abhay Deol.
“With electric guitar you can process the tone, but with sitar its difficult, because its a lot more tactile instrument than the guitar. So I had to think of the kind of sounds a sitar creates, and there is typical ‘twang’ that it creates. I decided to create a similar sound and used a glass slide,” he explains it, rather nonchalantly, as if he has been playing that sitar like tone on his guitar for years.
Before he forayed outside of the “indie music scene” and went on to be noticed for his skills, Dhar was entertaining desi rock fans with face melting guitar solos, and head crushing metal music. His studio project, Skyharbour, which was started by Dhar about a decade back, went on to impress not just the rock fans here, but across the globe as well. British progressive metal band Tesseract’s frontman, Daniel Tompkins, reached out to Dhar. Their first collaboration and the band’s first studio album, Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos (2012), also featured solos by American thrash metal band Megadeth’s guitar player Marty Freidman, on two tracks, Catharsis and Celestial, from the album.
It took some time for Dhar to realise that, not much was left for him to explore in the world of metal music. The decision to go beyond that, is what got him excited, be it his work in the recently released series, or the handful of Bollywood films, including MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) and Yaara, that have come his way. “In the sense that, back when we started it was still fresh and new. So there was a lot more to discover, for me, than there is now because so many people have started creating music in that space,” he says.
All this exploration and playing around genres, however, doesn’t mean that Dhar has moved away from his rock/metal roots. Another single, Now I am Here, from the same OTT series, is a proof of that. “That song explained the way the show oscillated between 1984 and 2019. It’s a very modern rock sound, but its got very classic rock and roll vibe to it,” he says.
And this explorations and his experiments with guitar continue. For Dhar, people are really opening up to different kinds of music, thanks to the Internet, which has, at least for him, made music more exciting. “If you see now, there is a niche of everything, and there are groups of a people listening to a particular music. Be it Indian classical music, or the so many sub genres of metal music. It’s a great time to explore, and be in thick of things. It’s fun and exciting. If it doesn’t work, I have my indie music which I can always go back to,” he signs off.
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